Friday, 27 May 2016

What Makes a Great Movie Trailer

A trailer is an essential marketing tool for any film, short to cinematic. A trailer needs to capture an audience, describe a story, and build hype in a matter of minutes. No matter the length of your movie, you always have enough to make a trailer. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re cutting a trailer.

Keep It Short

You’ll likely have a few different cuts of varying lengths, depending on your advertising platform. These cuts will stem from your full-length trailer. Your full-length trailer should not exceed 3 minutes; anything over that is pushing into the “extended look” category and unless you’re producing the next blockbuster, this is too long.

This in no way means you need your trailer to be a full 3 minutes. Depending on your film, you may be able to capture your audience in just 1 minute. Let your creative instincts guide you.

Use Music and Sound Effects

Every cinematic experience is made better through the use of music or sound effects, including a trailer. Sound effects can be used in particularly creative ways in trailers since often times you need to incorporate studio logos, release dates, and hype information like awards received, quotes from critics, etc.

It can be hard to find one song that fits your trailer, so don’t be afraid to explore other options. Use multiple songs, have a song come in halfway through your trailer, don’t have a song at all.

Creative and bold audio choices can do wonders in a trailer. The examples at the end of this blog will surely convince you of that.

Always Leave Them Wanting More

A preview should be just that, a peek at the product. No one wants to feel like they’ve seen the whole movie after they’ve watched a trailer, so don’t give away all of the good stuff. Select clips that will underline the overall narrative, hype the drama (or humor), and pull the audience in. Then, when you have them….

End Strong

Your last soundbite should be dramatic and triumphant. It should be the peak of your emotional build. Keep in mind, your soundbite can accompany strong visual shots from anywhere in the film. Since the audience hasn’t seen the movie yet, you have the freedom to dictate what shot best fits that soundbite in the context of the trailer. It all depends on what you feel makes more of an impact.

I have a passion for trailers. I think a great trailer can make a movie better, or rather make it appear better than it actually is. While I am not a fan of trickery, I do think there is something magical about taking a 2-hour movie and capturing all of its drama, humor, action, fear, and emotion in a matter of minutes. It’s never a bad idea to test your trailers out on an audience. Watch them as they watch it and read their emotional responses. If you’re asking for feedback, make sure they don’t sugarcoat it; it does nobody any good.

Here are a few of my favorite trailers. I tend to get carried away when it comes to sharing great trailers, so I limited myself to just one trailer a genre. Enjoy!

Drama: Spotlight
Action: Suicide Squad (Not the official trailer, but the first look)
Comedy: The Vacation
Horror: The Blair Witch Project

Do you have other favorite trailers? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet @Swagger_Media! And if you need help with your video projects, our team is happy to assist you! Visit our website or give us call at 832-831-7592.

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